27 February 2006 | gradyharp
Slapstick Mixed with Psychology
GUN SHY is a peculiar movie, one that purports to have a significant storyline but one that splinters ideas all over the place, leaving the viewer wondering what all the fuss is about.
'Charlie' Mayeaux (Liam Neeson) is a bummed out DEA agent fresh from a bungled case yet given an important assignment to break a Columbian drug cartel represented by Fidel (José Zúñiga) and his boyfriend Estuvio (Michael DeLorenzo). Also caught up in this mélange is the Mafia represented, however reluctantly, by Fulvio Nestra (Oliver Platt), a nerdy but vicious bungler whose temper is uncontrollable, partly due to his insipid belittling wife Gloria (Mary McCormack) whose father demands Fulvio's crime life importance. Charlie is a mess, meets a psychologist who introduces him to group therapy (where Charlie idiotically relates all the DEA secrets openly) and to gastroenterology where nurse Judy (Sandra Bullock) administers a barium enema then other more herbal-sided treatments while she and Charlie become bonded. People are maimed (gunshot castration), killed, made to look foolish, all to the end of supposedly belly laughs on the part of the audience.
True, Neeson shows a flair for comedy and Platt manages to convey a breakthrough role for him, but the rest is a jumbled mess. Made in 2000 with the Twin Towers of New York frequently visible during talk against Arabs and the Middle East, it is easy to see why the timing of this 'yet another Mafia vs law' film contributed to its short theater run (how many have even heard of it?). But in the final analysis it probably failed on its own merits - sad for a film filled to the brim with very fine actors. Grady Harp